The EU demands additional measures against Xylella fastidiosa

The European Union (EU) has called for additional measures in the fight against Xylella fastidiosa, such as "more thorough and standardised inspections" in the Member States, even with molecular tests in areas other than those demarcated, and transparency measures, dumping data on the Internet.

On Saturday, the European Commission published the Execution Decision 2017/2352, of 14 December in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU), which modifies the previous one (2015/789) on measures to prevent the introduction and spread of Xylella fastidiosa within the Union.

According to the document, the States must carry out annual inspections to detect the presence of the organism in specific plants in their territory. These inspections will include a visual examination and, in case of suspicion of infection, the taking of samples and the performance of tests.

They will be based, therefore, "on sound scientific and technical principles" and "will be carried out at the appropriate times of the year to be able to detect the organism through visual exams, sampling and tests."

Molecular tests are expected to be performed to detect its presence in areas other than those demarcated, and if the result is positive, its presence will be identified with at least one additional positive molecular test.

Current experience shows that the immediate elimination of all the host plants, regardless of their phytosanitary status, within a radius of 100 metres around the infected plants, increases the prospects of successful eradication, contrary to what the agrarian organizations think.

However, "this width should remain at 10 kilometres in the case of demarcated areas established for containment purposes, due to the need to adopt a precautionary approach, given the pest's more widespread presence in those demarcated areas," he points out.

However, he advocates a reduction of that containment area to 1 kilometre under certain conditions that guarantee that the organism will not continue to spread, in addition to the immediate elimination of infected plants and the enforcement of surveillance measures.

"It is also considered acceptable to eliminate demarcated areas after twelve months if an intensive sampling program is adopted that can guarantee that the area is then free of the organism."


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